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Amherst revaluation is postponed until next year

More than 12,000 homes in Amherst won’t be reassessed this year, after all.

Instead, all of the town’s 44,000 parcels could be reassessed next year.

That’s the latest development out of Town Hall, where officials have been deciding how best to deal with a hot housing market in parts of Amherst where homes are selling for far more than what they’re assessed by the town.

Amherst originally planned to reassess more than 12,000 residential properties this year. That’s more than double than what the town would normally do in a year.

However, after further discussion and analysis of recent home sales, town officials realized the job was going to be even bigger than anticipated. Assessor Ann M. Terranova did not feel comfortable that there was enough time to do the work over the next two months and get reassessment notices out by May, Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein explained.

Now, Amherst intends to conduct a townwide revaluation to make sure all parcels are assessed at what they are really worth so everyone pays a fair share of taxes. The supervisor is expected to take the matter to the Town Board next week and seek a consultant to help the Assessor’s Office complete the revaluation by March 1, 2016.

Property values would again be at 100 percent once the revaluation is completed. In the meantime, assessments would be subjected to a 97 percent equalization rate this year, Terranova said.

Revaluations are almost always controversial. “I don’t know what to expect,” Weinstein said, when asked about public reaction to a revaluation.

Amherst last did a townwide revaluation in 2009. Since then, the town has annually analyzed home sale statistics showing the sale price and assessed value. Amherst then updates those neighborhoods where the sale price is exceeding the assessed value.

But it has been harder for the town to keep pace and remain at full value in the last couple of years as the market has exploded.